By IVES GALARCEP
The U.S. Men’s National Team will gather in Miami on Sunday to start preparations for Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier against Honduras, and after a three-week January camp for MLS and Scandinavian-based players, we will finally see a full-strength U.S. team on display.
Just who will be on that team remains to be seen. Jurgen Klinsmann will announce his roster on Monday, and the team’s disappointing showing against Canada just might mean that fewer members of the January camp will be making the trip than expected.
Just how many January camp participants should we expected to see? Klinsmann’s projection of around eight still sounds likely, with some new faces doing well to stand out in camp.
So who is going to make the cut? Here is our projection for the 23-man roster Klinsmann will call on:
PROJECTED USMNT ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS– Tim Howard, Brad Guzan
DEFENDERS– Geoff Cameron, Carlos Bocanegra, Omar Gonzalez, Clarence Goodson, Fabian Johnson, Tim Chandler, Brad Evans, Edgar Castillo
MIDFIELDERS– Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Danny Williams, Graham Zusi, Kyle Beckerman, Josh Gatt, Benny Feilhaber
FORWARDS– Jozy Altidore, Eddie Johnson, Herculez Gomez, Terrence Boyd, Juan Agudelo
Steve Cherundolo is injured and slated to miss this match, which likely means Timmy Chandler starts. Brad Evans gets the nod here for his work as a right back, not as a central midfielder, which we saw against Canada isn’t really a great spot for him on the international level. Part of the reason for Evans’ inclusion is the fact that Michael Parkhurst has yet to play for his new Bundesliga team, Augsburg, so Klinsmann could decide Evans is more ready to play if needed.
We only include two goalkeepers in this group, but if Klinsmann brings three expect Sean Johnson to get the nod.
Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler both showed well in camp, and against Canada, but it’s tough to see Klinsmann bringing two inexperienced centerbacks to a tough road qualifier. We give the nod to Gonzalez, but it wouldn’t be totally shocking to see Besler join him.
Juan Agudelo makes the group as a potential change-of-pace off the bench. He’s the perfect type of player to bring on late to help shake things up (as we saw against Russia).
Benny Feilhaber gets the nod based on his strong form against Canada and his big-game experience. Klinsmann could also turn to young playmaker Joe Corona as well. As for Mix Diskerud? It doesn’t look like he’s in the, well, you know, mix.
As far as we can tell both Geoff Cameron and Fabian Johnson are good to go for the Honduras match. Both had been recently dealing with knocks. If Johnson can’t go, Klinsmann might have to call in Justin Morrow, or do what he should do, which is finally call in Eric Lichaj.
What do you think of the squad? Who would you add to the team? Who would you remove from this squad? Which area of the team are you most concerned about? Who are you most excited to see in action against Honduras?
Share your thoughts below.
Chandler- Boca – Gonzo- Fabian
Zusi and Benny out wide
Dempsey is pretty good. Insert him over Gomez
2nd half tactical: sub Gomez for Jozy. Sub Jones for Benny to lock it down. Sacha for Cameron or Gonzo if a goal is needed.
Besler was on a flight today if that means anything..
I just want to get Chandler cap-tied. Then we can all stop worrying about it, and frankly, so can he. Just needs to get it out of the way.
Re. Chandler, I hope the guy comes on and plays great!
That doesn’t mean how he’s handled his relationship with the USMNT has been A-OK.
Recognizing his actions and intentions in this while still nevertheless wanting him to perform well are not mutually exclusive.
In my opinion this is who they should bring:
GK: Howard, Guzan
Defenders: Fabian Johnson, Cameron, Gonzalez, Chandler, Bocanegra, Besler, Castillo, Evans
Mid: Bradley, Jones, Williams, Kljestan, Zusi, Brad Davis, Feilhaber, Edu
Forwards: Dempsey, Altidore, Gomez, Johnson, Boyd, Agudelo
I’m just going to say this about Brad Evans.
First of all, I know that a lot of people here may not agree with the following, but that’s OK!
Brad Evans is a unique player in the USMNT pool. Some thoughts:
1) Over the past few seasons in Seattle, he has played at least 6 positions: all 4 of the main midfield roles, right back, and center back. I think he may have played left back on occasion as well (but I don’t remember ever seeing him do that with my own eyes). He plays the same way at each of those positions and is very consistent. This is a rare ability in soccer at the highest levels.
2) He’s not flashy, but he is a fundamentally sound player that keeps the game simple and who always seems to be in control of what his role is on the field, his own body, his positioning, awareness and such. He is a smart player. He is just excellent in the air, a better passer than most give him credit for (even though he’s not a visionary in that regard), super fit (can go 90 every time), and is cool at the penalty spot.
3) His weakest spot is the CAM role, but then on the other hand he’s played it a lot and the Sounders were good a lot of the time. This was true even if Evans feels “invisible” when he’s in that role. I wouldn’t judge him on a single game.
4) For some reason, in 2012, Evans took a step forward as a player and by the end of the season it was a big step forward. This may be because of the arrival of Christian Tiffert, who naturally plays the same role as Evans does for the Sounders. Considering Evans’ age and the fact that many players peak at an age that Evans is on the good side of, we may be seeing Evans hitting a peak that keeps him within the best 20-30 players in the USMNT pool.
5) We know that many MLS players are solid contributors to Premier League teams when given the opportunity. Brad Evans is the type of player that belongs in that group of players, in that I believe that if he were given a chance to play in a better league he would make that adjustment.
I know a lot of people see Evans as this average ordinary player. What I see is a guy who makes the depth of the USMNT better, but in a way that’s different from most of the guys Klinsmann gets to pick from. Do I think he has a future with the UMSNT as a CAM? Hellz no. But I think he brings something to the USMNT that few players do bring and that’s versatility and consistency at many positions. Only Geoff Cameron and Clint Dempsey have more natural skill in that area. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see Evans stay on the bubble and in the mix. As someone who is part of the 18, he gives Klinsmann some flexibility. This is what will keep him in the mix for at least the next tournament cycle, even if he doesn’t make the 18 on a regular basis.
Speaking as a non-Sounders fan, I agree.
Evans was in over his head at AM against Canada. He showed the hustle and athleticism to recover the ball from most of his mistakes, but his creativity lacked. For the first half, I’d give him a 3/10. However, I’d also blame this on Klinsmann playing him at his weakest position (of many) when more creative options were on the bench (Feilhaber) or not dressed (Mix).
When moved to RB, Evans was one of the best US players in the second half. Shut Canada’s wide play down, got forward well, and put in some dangerous balls. He’s more than good enough at fullback to back up Chandler and Johnson.
He’s also had a good 3+ weeks of training with the team now and played 2 matches, whereas Cherundolo’s injured, Parkhurst hasn’t seen the pitch for Augsburg yet, Lichaj’s not starting for Villa, Cameron’s needed at CB, and Morrow and Beltran showed they weren’t quite up to snuff against Canada.
If EJ or Gatt see the field I promise you we will come home pointless. EJ is lazy as all get out. Have to play Deuce running under Jozy and hopefully Jozy feels like moving on Wednesday. I would drop Boca for Gonzo, I think Gonzo is such a threat on set pieces. Or you could also play Boca at LB and slide Johnson up.
Not sure I have any faith in JK.
Notice the NOT lazy goal. Notice the sweet pass from Brad Evans. (And notice the subtle run of Christian Tiffert that pulled the defender off of Eddie Johnson.)
And don’t forget to watch EJ run over to the Portland fans so that he can let them know what it feels like to be scored on by a “lazy” forward.
Calling EJ lazy is just dumb.
Why no Diskerud? He is pretty good.